Chinese Proficiency ​Test (HSK)

The new HSK test was launched by Hanban in an effort to better serve Chinese language learners. The test is the result of coordinated efforts by domestic and foreign experts from different disciplines including Chinese language teaching, linguistics, psychology and educational assessment. The new exam combines the advantages of the original HSK while taking into consideration recent trends in Chinese language training by conducting survey research and based on the latest findings in international language testing.

I. Test Structure

The new HSK is an international standardized exam that tests and rates Chinese language proficiency. It assesses non-native Chinese speakers’ abilities in using the Chinese language in their daily, academic and professional lives. HSK consists of six levels, namely the HSK (level I), HSK (level II), HSK (level III), HSK (level IV), HSK (level V), and HSK (level VI).

II. Test Levels

The levels of the new HSK correspond to the levels of the Chinese Language Proficiency Scales for Speakers of Other Languages (CLPS) and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF) as follows:

New HSKVocabularyCLPSCEF
HSK(level VI)Over 5000Level VC2
HSK(level V)2500C1
HSK(level IV)1200Level IVB2
HSK(level III)600Level IIIB1
HSK(level II)300Level IIA2
HSK(level I)150Level IA1


Test takers who can understand and use very simple Chinese words and phrases, meet basic needs for communication and possess the ability to further their Chinese language studies will be able to pass the HSK (Level I) exam.

Students who have an excellent grasp of basic Chinese and are able to communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters should have no trouble to passing the HSK (Level II) exam.

For the HSK (Level III) exam, students should be able to communicate in Chinese at a basic level in their daily, academic and professional lives. Furthermore, they should also be able to communicate freely in Chinese when travelling in China.

The HSK (Level IV) exam assesses a student’s ability to converse fluently in Chinese with native Chinese speakers on a wide range of topics.

For the HSK (Level V) exam, students should be able to read Chinese newspapers and magazines, enjoy Chinese films and plays, and give a full-length speech in Chinese.

The HSK (Level VI) exam focuses on written and verbal comprehension, and should be able to express themselves verbally and by means of written expression.

III. Test Principles

The new HSK follows the principle of “test-teaching correlation”, which is based on the current trends in international Chinese language training, which is closely related to textbook training. The purpose of the test is to “promote training through testing” and “promote learning through testing”.

The new HSK emphasizes the objectivity and accuracy of the evaluation and stresses the learners’ actual Chinese language abilities.

The new HSK sets clear test objectives to allow the test takers to be able to improve their Chinese language abilities in a systematic and efficient way.

IV. Testing Purposes

The new HSK retains the former HSK’s orientation as a general (or universal) Chinese language abilities test for adult learners.

The results of the test can serve several purposes:

  1. A reference for an educational institution’s decision-making concerning recruiting students, assigning students to different classes, allowing students to skip certain courses and granting students academic credits.
  2. A reference for employers’ decision-making concerning the recruitment, training and promotion of test takers.
  3. A method for Chinese language learners to assess and improve their proficiency in Chinese.
  4. A method for Chinese language training institutions to evaluate training results.

V. Results Certificate

Test takers will receive the results and a certificate, by Hanban, within one month after the test.